So, you're wearing your new hearing aids - what happens next? You might be getting along perfectly with your hearing devices, or you might be feeling a bit lost or even overwhelmed. Whatever you're feeling - it's completely normal. The sound you hear will sound weird at first, but give yourself time to adjust.
Your audiologist is there for you even after you leave the clinic. In many ways, the aftercare service is more important than your initial consultation, as this is where you are experiencing your new soundscape in your most realistic environment.
On this page, we take a look into some common problems around the adjustment period and how to make adjusting to new hearing aids more easily, as well as other useful information to support you on your hearing loss journey.
There are many who are surprised to find out that it can take a while to get used to their hearing aids. This is even more true for those who have never worn them before. Combined with understanding how they work, you'll also have a time when your brain needs time to remember sounds. This is common that your device might need several adjustments before it suits your everyday soundscape.
Audiologists have the skills and experience to support you and answer any questions you may have at any time. They are there to support your understanding of your hearing devices and you should never put off arranging an appointment to ask any questions you may have during the adjustment period. Keep in touch with your audiologist and if your aids need a little tweak, they can do this for you - either in a clinic or remotely in most cases.
Hearing loss is different, and some people will need some time to adapt to wearing new hearing aids. This is even more common if you've lived with untreated hearing loss for some time. You might be wondering why this is the case. Your brain has to get used to your hearing aids too.
During this period, your brain is getting used to all the new sounds you're experiencing that you might have forgotten about because of auditory deprivation. In all cases, your audiologist should advise and instruct you on how to use, care and maintain your devices and hearing care success going forward.
Your new hearing aids will not duplicate how you used to hear before you were diagnosed with hearing loss - especially your own voice. This means your voice might sound weird and unfamiliar to you initially. You also might be more aware of your swallowing and chewing whilst wearing them. All these funny new sounds will switch to the new normal the more you were your devices.
Coping with new hearing aids, for some people, might not be a simple task. Other than being patient and excepting the adjustment period, there are usually no side effects to wearing new hearing aids. Your digital hearing aids should be comfortable even though you know you are wearing them.
Coping with new hearing aids takes time, however, there are a few problems that you shouldn't put up with. Your new hearing aids shouldn't be painful, give you a headache, and they shouldn't make your ears bleed, feel irritated, or sore. Other issues might be:
If you are experiencing any of these side effects, you should remove your hearing aids and contact your audiologist to adjust the fit of your devices as soon as possible. You should also see your audiologist if new sounds cause you pain, as your device's settings might need changing.
Remember that hearing aids won't give you perfect hearing, as hearing aids aren't a cure for hearing loss. They are designed to simply make you hear better and give you a greater quality of life.
When you get used to wearing your hearing aids you should wear them all the time - apart from when your showering, swimming etc. If you don't wear them consistently you can prolong the adjustment period and are at risk of not getting used to them at all.
Your brain also craves the stimulation of your new soundscape. While research is continuing, it does tell us that wearing hearing aids can reduce the risk of cognitive decline, loneliness, depression and anxiety.
Start at home: Adapting to new hearing aids begins by wearing your hearing aids at home and discovering your new soundscape in quiet hearing environments. Get used to one-to-one conversations and tell others to support you through more challenging listening atmospheres. Talk out loud as much as you can to recognise and get used to your own voice with your devices.
Challenge yourself: Listen to audiobooks and also push yourself to figure out which direction sounds are coming from.
Organise follow-up appointments: These can be used to get answers to any queries or to make adjustments with your audiologist. Your audiologist can also arrange at-home services if needed.
Be patient: Because you are not used to your new soundscape, your brain isn't either. So new sounds and background noises will initially feel and sound strange. Your brain needs to get used to organising and recognising sounds again. Be patient and anticipate the changes.
Don't stand for pain or discomfort: If your new hearing aids are causing you pain, arrange an appointment to see your audiologist to alter the fit and adjust any settings accordingly. Please be aware that your ears might be sensitive to the new devices at first - it's all a part of your adjustment period.
Take time for breaks: Initially, you might find wearing them for a few hours a day might help with the adjustment period - especially in more challenging environments. After that, you can steadily wear them for longer until you reach a point when you are used to wearing them.
Take time to rest: This period of adjustment can be very tiresome, so you must remember to rest and take time out. It is very similar to retraining a muscle to do something that it hasn't been used to doing in a while.
Those with hearing loss who wear digital hearing aids feedback to our audiologists that they see a huge increase in their quality of life. Hearing better enables them to get the most out of life - experiencing enhanced interactions with family and friends as well as more enjoyable social gatherings.
Where they struggled to hear in crowds and noisy environments - they now have a full soundscape enabling them to engage in conversation more easily and with less effort and listening fatigue wherever they are. Appreciating and 'getting excited' about social events instead of worrying whether or not they can follow the conversation.
Whether you're new to hearing aids or have upgraded your old ones it's important to know that not everyone's transition to wearing hearing aids is seamless or straightforward. It can take some time to get used to wearing hearing aids and appreciating your new soundscape. This is all completely normal, and your audiologist will be there to support you.
Your audiologist will also schedule a follow-up appointment where you can take time to adjust and fine-tune your hearing aids based on your hearing experiences since you started wearing them. Your audiologist will answer any questions and issues you may have and together you can find the best solution.
There are quite a few things that you can do to support your loved ones as they get used to their new hearing aids. One of the main things is being patient and being there for moral support, but you can also help by:
Educating yourself about hearing loss: If you know more about hearing loss, hearing accessories, how to change batteries and the benefits of hearing aids - you will help your loved one to adjust and you can give them more confidence in wearing them. For example, how to change batteries, when and how to clean them and what hearing aid accessories they might benefit from.
They will feel less alone, as you are part of their journey. If you show support and develop a strong alliance with your audiologist, you will motivate your loved one - through communication, better awareness and advice.
Attend appointments: There can be a few follow-up appointments initially, one is sometimes to adjust hearing aid settings after the first couple of weeks. Being present at appointments can reduce stress for the hearing aid wearer and you can share the complexities that hearing loss sometimes brings.
Making the right decisions for their hearing is often a daunting task with many variances to consider. It involves scheduling appointments, receiving and understanding advice, making choices that are right for them, implementing the advice given and maintaining hearing health. Therefore, family involvement is often crucial.
It may sound obvious, but it is vital that you wear your hearing aids frequently to receive the full benefits they offer. This can sometimes feel like a challenge if your hearing aids don't feel comfortable to wear right away. At the start, you might be constantly aware that they are in your ears, but that feeling will go away in a few days.
Like with all new things, it takes time to adjust and add to your existing daily routine. For instance, it is common for some people to forget to put in their devices at the beginning. Some of our patients initially found it beneficial to set an alarm in the morning and night to remind them to put in and take out their hearing aids.
Soon you'll develop your new natural soundscape and start to recognise and appreciate the simple things in your every day that you might have missed or not heard in a while - like running taps and those annoying creaky stairs!
The sounds you hear might be unnaturally loud at the beginning and this is simply due to the brain not being used to them. This won't last for long, as your brain adjusts to the more focused and clear sounds you are now experiencing.
Speaking to people either on the phone or face-to-face will be extremely rewarding when you wear your hearing aids. Speech and sound are clear, focused and easier to follow - something that you may not have experienced before or not at the level you have been used to in the past.
Get into the habit of starting conversations that you might have avoided before with your hearing loss and see how your confidence improves as you build stronger social connections with family and friends. Having regular conversations with your family or friends is of great benefit, as they are the easiest to identify and you can acknowledge and get used to the higher level of focused hearing you now get with your devices.
Please remember, that when you are in loud or more challenging environments, don't be tempted to adjust the volume as your hearing aids should adjust automatically - there is no need for manual manipulation. You can also damage your ears by doing this if the volume is manually turned up too loud.
Taking note of your new hearing experiences whilst wearing your hearing aids can be a great tool to track your challenges, new impressions and also to see how far you've come. More importantly, it is a physical report that will help guide your audiologist to make any adjustments needed.
These could be new sounds you've not experienced before, unpleasant hearing situations in various environments and maybe how comfortable your hearing aids are and so on. The more sounds you are able to recognise and filter out and the more sounds you identify as bothersome - can ultimately help your audiologist make the right tweaks that will give you a more personalised sound.
The key takeaway here is to give your brain time to receive these new sound signals that it has been missing. This is called auditory confusion. Your brain simply needs time to familiarise itself again with the various frequencies of speech, sound and background noises of everyday life.
Re-acclimatising your brain to your new soundscape can be a challenge after the distortion that comes from hearing loss. Be patient, ask for support and stick with it - you will soon reap the benefits of being able to hear better which will make this adjustment period worth it.
You may be looking for an audiologist local to you, thinking about upgrading your existing hearing aids, or have some questions about this page, hearing loss or hearing healthcare - call us free on 0800 567 7621 for free impartial advice.
Do not spend hundreds of pounds without getting a second opinion from us.
When we refer to a product as 'New', we mean that the product is new to the market.
When we refer to a product as 'Superseded', we mean that there is a newer range available which replaces and improves on this product.
When we refer to a product as an 'Older Model', we mean that it is has been superseded by at least two more recent hearing aid ranges.